Ever since I began gaming, I remember being attracted to games that had to do with history, geography, and all that flows in-between. (It’s actually that same interest that has cost me to spend obscene hours of my life playing the Civilization games and watching things like America: The Story of Us).
But there’s also something about the story-telling that this game presents to you.
For starters, this game is based on the Jules Verne novel and your character is a French valet named Passepartout in the service of Englishman Phileas Fogg, who takes a wager to travel around the world in, you guessed it, 80 days. You start in London, with his funds as the fuel, you have to work your way around the globe taking whichever route you desire. There is a bit of a strategy element in planning out your routes, buying products at markets and selling them in other cities to further build your travel bankroll, and deciding when to attend to your master (and his health, you do need him to arrive back in London alive) or to spend the evening on a stroll where you could meet someone who could give you information on a good travel route, or pick your pocket. There are innumerable opportunities for risk/reward decisions. There are steam punk (crazy modes of transport, the Taj Majal is a walking robot!) and sci-fi elements sprinkled in, and a new random seed of events with every play-through, so traveling the same routes doesn’t always yield the same result. The art, music, and writing are all superb.
Join me now, on a journey around the world!
- Day 1-London-1872, we’re going on an adventure! Mr. Fogg has accepted a wager that he can circumnavigate the globe in just 80 days. He bids me to pack his evening jacket, along with his wool trousers and shirts. (This completes the Englishman’s wardrobe set, which will help me us negotiate the times of some trips on our journey). I’ve also packed some oil paints that maybe we can sell along the way! We board the Amphitrite (Underwater!) Express to Paris at 8pm.
- Coincidentally, we run into Jules Verne and query him about Paris and some of the travel routes that stem from it. Paris to Zurich, and Venice to Rome are some of the routes we discover.
- After arriving in Paris, I decide to explore the city.and learn of travel routes that can take us as far West as Bucharest! It also just so happens there’s a World’s Fair going on for me to visit. I decide to visit the Artificer’s Guild (think engineers, they predominately work with automatons, aka robots). I purchased a bottle of wine to hopefully resell in Berlin, should we travel that way, as well as a pair of leather gloves that will help me keep Mr. Fogg prim and proper on any driving routes we take.
- Day 2-Paris, I decide to book us passage on the Orient Express to Munich. On the train, I decided to offer aid to a portly gentlemen who was struggling with some trunks. Turns out, he’s Henri de Blowitz, foreign correspondent to The Times. I decided to sit with him in the dining car and we overheard a pair of Parisian girls talking about war with the Ottomans, and that they intended to strike Istanbul. de Blowitz informed me he was writing a story about it. We should likely avoid that route.
- Day 3-Munich, I decided that we would travel by steam carriage to Berlin to sell our wine for a large profit to fund our adventure. I learn that we can travel to Warsaw, and then on to Minsk on to Moscow, and then entirely across the Russian landscape to the Pacific! However, before we arrived we were accosted by an Ottoman airship helmed by a mysterious red-jacketed woman! With a giant mechanical claw, we were hoisted by the airship as our driver prayed furiously. (Monsieur Fogg was oblivious to the danger apparently, calmly looking out the window as we rose). Airship pirates? Perhaps an advantage we could press for our travels? My master approvingly agreed with my sentiment. Turns out, she’s after an engine part from our driver’s vehicle. After talking my way out of things with an offer of tea and charming her I mentioned our wager. She mentioned that she had something that needed to be delivered to Istanbul. Do we dare go that way knowing of impending war? She handed me a carved stone and told me to deliver it and that we’d be rewarded handsomely. The pirates dropped us in Berlin at 11pm.
- Day 4-Berlin, exploring in the early morning opened up route options to us that allowed me to try to get to Bucharest and connect with Istanbul. After selling our wine and oil paints for a princely sum of 2600 pounds, we know had 6,195 to our name. The private car for Bucharest wouldn’t leave until the next day, so we stayed in Berlin that night.
- Day 5-Road to Bucharest, our driver’s name was Gottlieb Daimler. (Automobile pioneer!)
- Day 8, 6PM, we arrive in Bucharest and spent the night. Upon investigating the next morning, there were no ways out of the city that day. I stopped into the Artificer’s guild and spoke to a nice woman named Steinberg, who supplied me with a paraffin wax mixture to help us speed along any balloon rides we might take in the future, and a Artificer’s Medallion. I could sell the stone for 2200 pounds here, but am too curious about its purpose in Istanbul.
- Day 10, we hopped on a freight train to Odessa so that we could catch passage to Istanbul via boat.
- Day 11, we arrived and instantly caught a hydrofoil to Istanbul. The trip was uneventful and we arrived around 9pm local time. The plan forward was to take a public carriage to Antalya on the morrow, but a little exploring in the morning will possibly open other options. Besides, we have to deliver the stone.
- Day 12-Istanbul, the artificer’s shop held rows and rows of porcelain faces as I walked in. Mechanical arms and legs and torsos strewn about, and hundreds of jeweled eyes started at me. An automaton rose with a creak, and I greeted it. It turned out to be the artificer with brass goggles and curly black hair. I told him about the stone and he explained to me that it was from his very first creation, an automaton from the Ottoman court that ended up being sold off and lost to him. The red-jacketed woman (a former student of our artificer) had been sending him pieces of one lost child in hopes it would help him forget another. He asked if she seemed happy, and I answered that I thought she had found a home with her crew, so that I thought so. He counted out 3000 pounds as our reward! Our total now sits at 8,235! I decided we’d want to keep this profiting going, so bought a huge amount of olive oil for 310 pounds in hopes of selling it for more in Tehran. Did I mention that I negotiated a change in the departure of the Tehran-bound Kamer-Taj (gigantic iron horse train) from two days from now to 8pm this evening? Yes, I did that. Apparently these things can reach a top speed of 75 miles per hour!
- Day 15-Tehran, not knowing if I would ever actually get a chance to use the paraffin wax substance on a balloon, I sold it for 2200 pounds. (9660 running total after trip expenses). I did pick up an astrolabe for 160 pounds in hopes of flipping it elsewhere in our travels. We leave for Kabul on the morrow.
- Day 18-Kabul, our mechanical palaquin for Agra departs tomorrow and arrives in two days. Not bad timing if we can swing it. However, upon exploring Kabul, we were seized by a score of British Infantry and marched into a fortress. My master protested our treatment, and I joined. We were presented to one Mr. Smythe in a very fancy looking office. I rudely pointed out that he had a fine office and he agreed it was a bit opulent for its current use. Monsieur Fogg explained the urgency behind our passing through Kabul, and as our tale grew longer, Smythe grew more and more astonished. Smythe explained that he had a friend who was traveling to Omsk, and said he’d appreciate us accompanying her. (Omsk would allow us to catch the Trans-Siberian express all the way to Ussuriysk, or change at Karimskaya for Beijing.) We stayed the night and decided to continue on to Agra though, not wanting to risk the biting cold of Siberia.
- Day 19/20-road to Agra, we passed through Lahore and Delhi, and on the way into Agra all I could see was the Taj Mahal. I had heard rumors of Agra being the “walking city”.
- Day 20-Agra, the astrolabe sold for 6,600 pounds! We are richer than I would’ve imagined three weeks in, with coffers that total 15,416 pounds. I invested 5 of those pounds in an elastic banded wallet to protect our wealth against pick-pockets and a train-schedule and route map for America. I figured we’d be heading through there at some point and that it’d be useful. It appears that Agra will take us to Calcutta. A roving city, the wonder! No one knew how it was powered. I was just glad she worked. I was able to procure a photograph on ferrotype during our travel as a souvenir.
- Day 22-AI took a walk on the decks, I saw a young lady in a bright pink sari and yellow-lensed goggles pitch herself over the railing! I sprinted across the deck and peered over the edge, bracing myself for the awful sight of her plummeting to the ground. She waved up at me cheerily, however, suspended by a length of thick rope. I waved back in shock. She found me at lunch, and introduced herself as Daya. She explained that she was adjusting mechanics below the rail and that she had waited for me to show up before she jumped. I complimented her performance.
- Day 23-Calcutta, the olive oil sold for 1300 pounds! Asking around for routes out of the city, I was able to negotiate passage to Hong Kong via the SS Thunder the following day. Our trip is progressing nicely.
- Day 24-We were off via steam ship and the captain promised us a journey of ten days rather than the usual figure of 12. London to Hong Kong in 34 days would truly be something.
- Day 31-enroute to Hong Kong, I helped a sick crewman in my cabin and let him stay until he was better. He told me if he’d been discovered sick he’d have lost his job in Hong Kong. As thanks, he told me if I needed to get to Manila quickly, that his uncle has an airship. I’ve only mention his name and he will take us. Not knowing if there was a way to cross the Pacific from Manila gave me pause though.
- Day 33-Hong Kong, we arrived within the ten-day promise the captain gave us. I have decided we will make our way towards Yokohama rather than Manila. Our air ship leaves tomorrow.
- Day 34-The Jade Tiger was a Persian airship decorated with Manchu luck-symbols. I hope that does not mean she needs all the luck she can get…
- Day 37, Yokohama, upon investigating our options, it appears perhaps we should’ve gone to Manila to get to Honolulu. Our choice of travel from here is an “experimental hover-ship” that leaves tomorrow. Fortune favors the bold?
- Day 38, with some prodding, I was able to find out about a passenger ship that would travel from Yokohama to San Francisco! No experimental craft for us! Our ship, the Waterlily, was a ship-to-submarine prototype. I looked forward to a peaceful crossing, but, we were not to be so lucky.
- Day 42-at sea, I was climbing the rigging for exercise when I heard two crewman arguing above me, when one sailor grabbed at the other, missed his footing and fell over the edge of the platform! I watched him die…the sailor he was arguing with slipped away.
- Day 44, a huge storm hit us for six hours. We were blown far off-course. There is no land in sight in any direction.
- Day 45, the captain has announced we are going to make for Hawaii instead of San Francisco. We should arrive there in five days but we’d have to procure our own way off the island. Monsieur Fogg was not happy, suggesting that our captain had broken his gentleman’s agreement to bring us to SF, and that we should not and would not incur more financial strain because he could not fulfill his end of the bargain! He suggested a mutiny. He also said it was up to me to set it in motion…
- Day 50, outside Honolulu, the time has come for my mutiny. Long story short and giving away no spoilers, my particular mutiny was successful, we turned the ship and made our way towards San Francisco.
- Day 56-San Francisco. We have made it, and somehow not lost even a day in the exchange. I decided instead of facing a three-day wait for a train to take us West, we’d hop a gyrocopter to Gastown, and try to make our way to New York via Canada. We’ll see if that pays off.
- Day 60-After arriving and waiting two days for a train via the Canadian Pacific Railway, we booked passage to Winnipeg and then on to Ottawa, where hopefully we could quickly find a way to get to London.
- Day 63-Slow goings on the train and rumors of a “floating city” spurred us to debark in Regina. But, I saw a walking city, could a floating one by that far out of the realm of possibility?
- Day 64-Regina, after finding a mystery device in an alley after a fist fight between some native tribes and white men, we boarded an air ship to Toronto. As the air ship took off, the device began to buzz and lights flickered. This can’t be good.
- Day 65-I awoke with my hands bound. Monsieur Fogg bond similarly. A tall Lakota woman entered the room, introduced herself, and threw the mysterious device at my feet, and accused us of being whisky traders. We were to go in front of their council in….THE FLOATING CITY!?
- Day 67-Floating City of the Sioux, with my unabashed telling of the truth, the council found us not guilty of being whisky traders. The Lakota woman explained we’d be dropped in Quebec City. We don’t have much time left…
- Day 73-Quebec City, our only hop was to catch a hot air balloon from Quebec City to Reykjavik, but it cost us 3300 pounds total to have them bump up the departure a day. Thankfully we had the money, sadly I sold the paraffin wax ages ago.
- Day 76-Reykjavik, I have paid extra to spur passage to London sooner as we are up against the clock. We leave today in hopes of arriving under 80 days…
- Day 78-LONDON! WE MADE IT! My master won 20,000 pounds!
So, in total, here are the stats of our journey….
- We visited 18 cities
- Traveled 26,055 miles
- 11,688 by sea
- 6,279 by land
- 7,105 by air
- 984 by other means
I obviously left out some of the narrative pieces to not spoil the fun and spontaneity of the game. In some cases, the outcome happens regardless of your choices, but there are definitely ample opportunities for the story to branch and grow on itself.
All in all, if you’re a PC gamer, I encourage you to give 80 Days a shot. You won’t regret it. $6.69 on Steam until July 4.